There’s an app for that. But is there? Do you have an idea for an app? Do you wonder how people build and create the really popular ones? So where do you begin? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Start with your idea. Write it down and organize your thought. What is it you want your app to do? How will it help people? Organize your thoughts and plan out what supplies you might need. There are a lot of questions that you need to ask and answer, to plan your project.
When you start to build your app, focus your screens on one primary goal. This seems simple and that is the point. If you have a screen to enter an email address, then make that screen only about entering an email. That should be the center of the screen, the main focus. Do not crowd the screen with multiple tasks. Be wary of your users and the variety of technology they may be using. As a designer, it is your task to decide the most important job of that screen. Weight the primary goal so that it stands out and lower the priority of any secondary tasks.
Tap the Target
The cell phone today is based on finger and thumb operations as opposed to the mouse clicks or physical buttons. The techs at Apple recommend to developers a minimum of 44x44px for elements that the user will be interacting with. The visual button does not need to be this size, just the clickable area. The design can utilize areas that extend beyond the visual button size, just make sure the extra does not overlap with other buttons.
This is about the visual impact of pixel density, pictures, bitmaps and scales. You want to design your pixels for the retina display; this means high-resolution images. Don’t make your user strain to figure out what low-resolution graphics are. This should be a given, but worth mentioning for those of you thinking you can get by with lower resolution or bitmaps.
Stay away from wireframes and use flowmaps. You want to have a detailed understanding of the flow of your app. How will it work; what is the pattern; how do users process the information? The flowmap guides the application and how the user makes it work and even the simplest apps should have well thought out navigational structures. Make sure your primary functions are on the top level of function screens, not buried beneath.
When there is a lot of information, use extra views. So, if you are moving into a new view and there is a lot of information that needs to be given, do not overwhelm your user. Instead add another view and split the information up. Use a single view for small bits of information.
Liveview to Preview
So you have put in hours of programming on your computer and you have been doing all your previews on your monitor and it looks good. The problem is nothing looks the same on the phone as it does on the computer monitor. Therefore, when programming and testing, always use Liveview by Nicholas Zambetti to preview your interface. The process is simple and easy to use.
Create Bespoke Buttons
Don’t go with default buttons. Design buttons that match your interface. Set the button style to custom, include background images or draw a new button style that you code. There are so many options. This is where you get to have fun with the visual programming.
Tell the User
Have you ever been using an app and the program transitions but all you see is a dark screen? You are left thinking, “Oh, it crashed.” Don’t do this to your user. When your program is working, loading or processing let your user know. Use loading indicators so that your user knows what is going. Never keep users in the dark and always try to imagine you are a user novice when testing the app’s ease of use and functionality. Following these simple pointers should ensure your app doesn’t fall by the wayside.
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